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The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms.
Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until 1999, with the 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair.
The Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people consolidated in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911.
Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, and the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture.
It comprises 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja is located.
Nigeria is officially a democratic secular country.
Nigeria is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe's next "BRIC-like" economies.
It is also listed among the "Next Eleven" economies set to become among the biggest in the world.
The Edo's Benin Empire is located in southwestern Nigeria.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio directed a successful jihad and created and led the centralised Fulani Empire (also known as the Sokoto Caliphate).